IDEA Complaint Decision 12-021

On April 30, 2012, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Washburn School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2011-12 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) and improperly restrained a student with a disability.

An IEP must specify the amount and frequency of special education services to be provided so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team participants. On October 17, 2011, the IEP team met to determine the student’s eligibility for special education, develop the student’s annual IEP, and determine the student’s placement. The IEP that was developed included positive behavioral interventions, including “allow [student] to go to a quieter place to regroup within the school setting,” and “when student needs extra space, [student] is allowed to move to another area in the classroom or other places in the school setting.” In addition, the student’s supplementary aids and services included “quiet setting, when [student] is having difficulty managing [the student’s] behavior and needs to regroup,” and “space, when [student] feels [the student]’s being closed in.” The IEP described the circumstances under which the services would be provided and staff implemented them consistently.

On April 13, 2012, the student and a district staff member were involved in an incident which the staff member described as restraint. There is no evidence that the staff member involved had been trained in restraint, nor was there a situation of clear, present, and imminent risk to the physical safety of the student or to others. The staff member provided an incident report of the incident, but did not know whether the district had procedures related to restraint. After the incident, a behavioral plan was created and distributed to all staff members working with the student. The student was improperly restrained.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan. The corrective action plan must ensure all staff are informed of the requirements of 2011 Wisconsin Act 125, addressing the use of seclusion and restraint.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint. You may contact Christina Spector, Special Education Team, at (608) 267-3747 if you have any questions about this decision or for technical assistance.

//signed CST 6/27/2012
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

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For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720